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How the first Marvel movie cost George Lucas more than $7 billion

The first Marvel movie ever made may not be what you think, and it turns out that this ill-fated MCU project cost Star Wars' George Lucas a lot of money.

Tom Holland as Peter Parker

We often think of Marvel studios as one of the biggest money makers around. But actually, Marvel ended up being the reason that George Lucas saw an eye-watering $7 billion disappear from his grasp. …Eventually, anyway.

It all started when Star Wars creator Lucas was looking for his next project after American Graffiti. In 1986, he settled for an adaptation of the Marvel comic Howard The Duck. (You know, the duck that makes a cameo in the Guardians of the Galaxy Marvel movies.)

Taking on the movie through his company Industrial Light and Magic, Lucas hit a few bumps in the road that would pave the long and troubled path for the Howard the Duck film, resulting in the box office flop that it became.

Industrial Light and Magic had a subdivision known as The Graphics Group, which was dedicated to producing computer graphics for movies. But Lucas wouldn’t be able to use this side of the company for Howard, because he was contracted to produce a live-action movie with Universal. Therefore, Howard had to be real.

This was the decision that resulted in the nightmarish puppet version of Howard that we now know. A decision that no doubt ended up hurting the box office viability of the comedy movie, since it ended up only grossing $37.9 million worldwide.

Before Howard was unleashed into the world, Lucas was already financially struggling. When it became clear that he needed to find extra financial backing, he decided to sell off his beloved Graphics Group. It then ended up in the hands of none other than Steve Jobs.

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Lucas ended up making $5 million in capital from selling the group, and while Jobs initially wanted to use the company to work on marketing his new computer, he ended up renaming it to Pixar.

You know the rest. From there on in, Pixar went on to produce one of the best family movies of all time starting with Toy Story, and would become pioneers of animated movies.

But it’s not just this that has to burn for Lucas. When Disney bought Pixar in 2006, they paid an impressive $7.4 billion for the company. Perhaps if Howard hadn’t killed The Graphics Group, Lucas might have seen some mega returns down the line. …Damn you, Howard!

For more animated fun, check out our guides to the Wish release date, and check out our Elemental review. Plus, see why we thought Elemental, one of this years best new movies, never stood a chance. You can also take a look at all the best movies ever made, and the best Disney movies, too.